Writing is often times seen as one of those easy jobs if you only have the attention span to sit a long time and write or type. It’s as though whatever words flow from your brain will automatically assemble themselves into the next great thing.
Ha. Don’t make me laugh.
Writers work just as hard as anyone else. The real trick is staying sane amidst conflicting advice from peers, agents, family members, and well-intentioned friends. To rewrite, or not to rewrite is more often than not the dilemma.
Embrace your quirkiness, wear it as a superhero cape…with pride! I’ll share a few of my methods of staying sane, some of which I learned from the Mad Hatter. *wink*
1. Play: yep, you heard me. It’s okay to be weird and have building blocks, video games, board games, toys, movies, music and whatever else helps you relax, think, and improve your creativity.
2. Read about current events: I dislike watching the news, but I do like to catch up on events once in a while by reading a variety of online magazines and newspapers. Sometimes I read international publications that mention my country. Occasionally it gives me ideas about a new story.
3. Treat rejection letters like trophies: they are proof that you are actively working on achieving your goals. Critics might say you’re failing, but they are mostly likely not working on their own dreams. You’re brave enough to take the chance. Kudos to you.
4. Talk: talk to non-writers about something besides writing. I know it’s difficult, but you’ll end up living in your book before you know it unless you touch base with reality now and then.
5. Journal: I sometimes call this freewriting. Basically, write whatever you want, whenever you want. It helps clear the mind. When you are a writer, you’re calling upon all your emotions to concoct realistic characters. You need to detox once in a while.
6. Take time off: if you feel run down, or super-stressed it won’t matter if you sit in front of your computer all day. You’re probably not going to be productive. Allow yourself vacation days, just like any other professional would receive.
7. Set achievable goals: I could tell myself that I am going to write a story in a month, but that is a little unrealistic. Sure, I might be able to accomplish it but more likely I’ll stress myself with my unrealistic expectations, then fail and spiral into a counter-productive depression. Perhaps that’s just me, but I still say set little goals. Here’s something I created for myself and it seems to help keep me focused, without overburdening me. Everyone is different though, so find something that works for you.
8. Tweet: this one keeps me sane more than I would like to admit. There’s a great network of authors, writers, and creative heroes on Twitter. Sometimes, I spend the day just running my mouth and listening to the advice of others.
Whether you are trying to stay sane as a writer or trying to pursue a lifelong goal, remember to keep things in perspective. You aren’t going to achieve greatness or success easily, and certainly not overnight. Your small daily goals will eventually yield results, so remember that this life is a marathon and not a sprint.
Best of luck to you all. If you’re reading this, I’m hoping that you are embarking on your own lifelong dream. You owe it to yourself, and you are definitely worth it. How do you stay sane while pursuing your goals and dreams?